tv Face the Nation CBS April 22, 2012 10:30am-11:30am EDT
>> schieffer: today on "face the nation," politices, poverty, and ladies of the night. >> if it turns out that some of the allegations that have been made in the press are confirmed, then of course i'll be angry. >> schieffer: if that is so he must be furious because the scandal over sex and the secret service has caused people who seldom agree on anything to unite in outrage. >> well, check this out, body guard, you're fired i've had enough of these men being dogs and not being responsible. >> schieffer: but if all the questions have been answered, has the secret service been damaged beyond repair? we're asking former secret service director ralph basham, and we'll bring in four key legislators investigating the case.
senators joe lieberman and tom coburn, and representative sheila jackson lee, and elijah cummings. then we'll do a campaign quick check on the presidential race where mitt romney had this to say to the president-- >> start packing. ( laughs ) that's what i'd like-- i'd like to say. >> schieffer: polls show romney is closing in on the president, but is it a little early to be measuring drapes for the oval office? we'll ask his longtime adviser eric fehrnstrom and stephanie cutter, the president's deputy campaign manager. we'll talk about the changing face of poverty with the authors of a new book, travis smiley and cornell west. and we'll get analysis on all of it from the "washington post's" melinda henneberger, "national journal's" major garrett, and our own political team, john dickerson and norah o'donnell. that's a lot to cover but this is "face the nation."
captioning sponsored by cbs from cbs news in washington, "face the nation" with bob schieffer. >> schieffer: ask good morning, again. and welcome to "face the nation." senator joe lieberman who is chairman of the senate homeland security and government affairs committee is with us here. they do have congressional oversight on the secret service. so, senator, let me just get right at it here. on friday, another three secret service agents resigned, and the secret service announced that another agent was under investigation in a separate incident. do you know what this-- this latest person to be identified, what that-- what's going on there? >> right, bob. those announcements on friday were significant in two regards. one is it shows director sullivan at the secret service is pursuing this investigation aggressively and comprehensively. it's clear to me now that he's
interviewing everybody from the secret service who was in cartagena. but what was striking to me and significant is that the 12th agent now put on administrative leave as of friday was not staying at the careen hotel where the other agencies were, but at the hilton. and the hilton is significant because that's where president obama was going to stay. now we don't know at this point that what 12th agent is being charged with and why he's been pout administrative leave. but now you're into the hotel where the profit united states was going to stay. and it'st just gets more troubling. >> schieffer: do you have any indication yet of whether any white house staffers were involved because any time the president travels overseas, as well as the secret service and the security people who go in advance, there are always white house staffers who go as part of the advance team. do you have any indication anybody from the white house was
involved? >> i don't, bork but i'll tell you if anybody at the white house asks for my counsel on this, i would say they ought to be launching their own internal review of all white house personnel, advance teams and the rest, who were in cartagena to make sure that no one working for the white house was involved in any of the same kind of inappropriate behavior that the secret service agents were. obviously, a secret service agent has a different range of responsibility than somebody on the white house advance team. on the other hand, if we're worried about compromising through sexual favors, the security of the president of the united states, the white house advance team, obviously, knows exactly where the president's going to be at every moment. and they have a responsibility, in my opinion, to conduct themselves at all times when they're work for the president in a way that doesn't make them vulnerable to being compromised
by anybody who wants to do the president harm. >> schieffer: where is your committee on this? are you going to hold hearings? are you actively investigating? where are you? >> yes, we have launched an inquiry, an investigation, and we will hold hearings on the secret service crisis, scandal-- whatever you want to call it. i have wanted, and senator colines, my ranking member, we wanted to give correct sullivan and the office of professional responsibility some room here first to conduct their own investigation. but we have begun our own investigation, and we will be sending specific questions to the secret service this week. when director sullivan is through with his investigation of what happened in cartagena we'll decide whether we need to do any more about that, about cartagena. but what i'm specifically going to be interested in is-- was what happened in cartagena an exception peter of a pattern of behavior that happened over time elsewhere, and if it did, why didn't somebody at the secret
service essentially bloat whistle on it? and what are they going to do now to make sure it never happens again. >> schieffer: will your investigation include asking about the possible involvement of white house staffers? after this, this comes under cabinet member janet napolitano. will you be calling her? should she be looking into this? >> i hope and believe she is. the secret service is placed within the department of homeland security now, so there are-- they are in that sense a part of her administrative oversight. my guess is she is. we haven't decided on witnesses but we will be talk to her about when harry department is going to do. look, this is important. this is the safety of the president and the vice president and their families. and for secret service agents who have the responsibility to protect the president, to act as these people did in cartagena as if they were college kids on spring break it is reprehensible
and i think it does damage to the reputation of what i think has been a great organization. that's yet secret service and those of us who admire it i think have a special responsibility not to just stop after director sullivan finishes his investigation at cartagena. we have to go on and keep asking questions to make sure it never happens again. >> schieffer: what about the secret service director, mark sullivan? do you still have confidence in him? >> i do at this point. i think he's reacted-- he reacted very quickly and very aggressively when he first heard of the episode in cartagena. and i think he's conducting a comprehensive investigation, as evidenced by the fact his people are talking to everybody down there. but in fairness to him and the secret service, our committee is going to look back at past conduct and records of misconduct and to ask whether anybody at the secret service in the administration should have been on notice that something
like this might have been happening happening and to act to stop it? is there a code of conduct that the secret service agents know they've got to follow, not just when they're on duty but when they're on assignment because the truth is they should feel they're always on duty because if they're compromised, then the safety of the president of the united states is compromised. >> schieffer: let me ask you one quick question on this scandal and the general services administration, here, the president's security was not at risk. it just seems a bunch of people who just basically were idiots about-- about putting on this costly conference out in las vegas, all on the taxpayer's tab. what are you going to do about that? >> this is really outrageous, for me sickening episode, because it doesn't represent what i know to be most people who work for the federal government. but it's so outrageous, these people took something like eight trips to las vegas over a year
and a half, to plan this convention. those planning trips cost $150,000-- >> schieffer: what do you do about that? >> the inspector general at g.s.a. has been a very good investigation, but here's the next steps-- and our commit is getting into this, too. one, we're going to ask the inspector general now to conduct a similar oversight investigation of the nine other regions -- this happened in region nine out of san francisco. i want to know if there's abuse in the others regions, particularly when it comes to confidences. conferences. we're going to call in the acting director of the g.s.a., and ask him to take a look at the autonomy that each of these regions have given-- have been given. i don't know at this point whether anybody in washington had to sign off before these people spent $1 million of taxpayer money on a party, basically. >> schieffer: it might be a goodiod fix the law before they can. >> i know you have tom coburn
coming on, postal reform. he has a very good amendment-- i might like to tweak part of it-- but it will limit the amount of money spent on conferences and get stein-off before they do. >> schieffer: we're going directly now to ralph basham, who was the head of the secret service just before mark sullivan. he spent 31 years in the secret service. mr. basham, let me ask you, the question people are asking, is this just some sort of anomaly or has this thing been going on all the time? did you have these kinds of problems with your agents when you were there? >> bork absolutely not. and i will tell you, absolutely, that this is an abrigs. this is not the character of the men and women who serve every day in the secret service. and, obviously, this is a huge story, it's a huge issue, because this sort of thing does not happen in the secret
service. and i can answer senator-- i think i can say to senator lieberman that i don't believe in the past these types of things have happened. they certainly didn't happen on my watch, and i spent over three decades in this organization. and i can tell you this is not what that organization is like. >> schieffer: so-- but you had-- you know, supervisor involved here. these weren't rookies. these were supervisors who, obviously, got to be supervisors-- some of the time they must have in the service you were the director. you're saying there was never any indication of anything like this when you were there? >> well, bob, that's not to say that we did not have situations where agents, officers, got themselves into inappropriate situations and had to be brought back and in some cases, the discipline went all the way to-- to removing them from the service. but to this magnitude, absolutely not.
and what makes it even more of an issue is the fact that it was done prior to the president's arrival, which could have compromised the trip and the safety of the president. but, but mark sullivan took immediate and decisive action just as senator lieberman said, removed those agents from cartagena, and did immediate investigation to determine whether or not the president's security had been compromised. he recognized-- i'm sorry. >> schieffer: i was just going to say. how many agents were removed for things like this while you were there? >> i-- well, actually, i can't recall one instance where the action went to the point of removing an agent from duty. there were agents who were disciplined, you know, given time off, that sort of thing. but i can't recall one actually being removed.
but, but, also i want to point out that when mark sullivan made that decision to bring those agents out of there, he recognizethat they could not remain there because they would be distracted. they would distract otheres, and you cannot have these agents kind of distracted when they're in the business of protecting the president of the united states. he's doing a thorough investigation-- go ahead. >> schieffer: i was just going to say, do you think the agency has been severely damaged by this? obviously, it's a teaching moment, as people would say. but i wonder if their credibility hasn't been hurt pretty bad by this. and i agree with you-- these are some of the best of the best in the federal government. >> right, right. well, like i-- bob, you've been around the agents as long as i have, and you know what the character of those agents are. and, certainly, this incident is
an extremely embarrassing incident, but it is an incident, and i believe if you look back at the history of the secret service, you've got to recognize that this is not characteristic of the organization. they'll get through this. they'll learn from this. and they'll move on to the important business that-- of protecting this nation's leaders. >> schieffer: mr. basham, i want to thank you for coming on. i wish it could have been under different circumstances, but perhaps there will be a time down the road when we'll have happier things to talk about. thank you very much. >> you're welcome, bob. thank you. >> schieffer: and we'll be back in one minute continuing on this story with some other key legislators. [ wind howling ]
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homeland security committee that is looking into this. sheila jackson lee, another key legislator down in oklahoma. tom coburn, who is on the judiciary committee, among other things. and with us, norah o'donnell who has been on top of this story from the very beginning. norah, let me just start with you. we know that the president met with mark sullivan, the head of the secret service friday, and i guess that was the first time two of them had met face to face. what coyou make of that meeting? >> reporter: it was the first time the two met. president obama called mark sullivan into the oval office for a face-to-face meeting. i'm told this was a briefing where sullivan sort of gave the details about the 23 people who are now involved, which include 12 secret service agents and officers, and 11 members of the military. on friday we had an additional three resign, that brings to six the total number. it's not clear whether mark sullivan's future at the head of the secret service agency was
discussed. >> schieffer: let me just go to our panel, then. sheila jackson lee, you have said flatley this thing needs to be cleaned up. does that mean that mr. sullivan has to go or do you still have confidence with him? >> bob, i was in colombia, and i landed on monday coming back from the organization of states, and director sulvance the first person i met with for two hours. i have faith in director sullivan but i believe we are at a moment in history-- since 1906, the secret service has protected the commander in chief the leader of the free world-- we had a moment in the history for the secret service to go forward the cancer must be carved out. frankly, i think there should be no tolerance, zero tolerance, and the took the opportunity to read the colombian law on prostitution. when the agents come back and tell us that it is legal, the only legal act is the sex worker's act. everything else is illegal. inducing, human traffickingly,
being at a place like the play club that is like a brothel-- all of that is illegal. and these individuals breached the security, breached the integrity and honor of the secret service, which i respect, by doing this while they were there 24 hours a day to protect leader of the free world. >> schieffer: let me ask elijah cummings, the ranking member on that committee, you and the committee chairman often disagree on things but you both came together on this and demanded a full and thorough investigation. >> no doubt about it, bob. this is so very, very important. un, the secret service has awe very, very important job, and we-- and as i said to director sullivan, it's not only that i want the secret service to be the excellent organization that it is. but i all want to make sure that people perceive it as being that. that is very important. a large part of their success is people know they captain penetrate the armor of the secret service soening the
secret service that's pause here, look very carefully at itself, and if change los angeles appropriate, they need to make them. but i agree with, i have full faith in sullivan. he moved on this quickly. he got those agents out immediately, he suspended them initially. he took away their clearance. and now, six of them are gone. and so i think-- but we've got to wait and see. i said-- we have sent a letter to him asking a number of questions, trying to figure out whether or not this is an aberration or whatever, and seeing how-- a little history these folks. and basically we're going to be sending a letter tomorrow to d.o.d., because we want to see exactly what role d.d. played in all of this, too. >> schieffer: let me go to tom coburn in oklahoma, joining us from there this morning senator, you're on the judiciary commit, i think your chairman is going
to be calling janet napolitano before your committee. should we be hearing something from cabinet secretary napolitano? the secret service come cans can under her cabinet department, and as far as i know, we haven't heard very much from her. are they investigating this? >> i'm sure she is. you know, i'm not critical of what the administration has done thus far. i think what we're seeing is an aberration, and i think secretary nepal tano, when she comes before us, will have answer tools the question. i think it's really important, bob, that we not jump ahead of the head of the secret service. he has demonstrated in many ways that he's on top of this and we'll get to the bottom of it. ask my experience with the secret service has been with stellar individuals. and i think the important thing is that we not allow an over-reaction that would do more damage to the secret service
rather than the appropriate response. anybody that wasn't down there to take care of protecting our president and his group and failed their duty should be gone. but i think this is a-- is an outlier for the secret service, and i think we'll get to the bottom of it. it's amazing how-- how interested we are in these types of things once a situation occurs, but we're not doing the oversight ahead of time and prior to something like this to make sure something like this doesn't occur. and congress tend to react very well when there's a problem but they never anticipate the problems or do the oversight ahead of time. >> schieffer: that-- i would kind-- probably all of us would agree on that. sheila jackson lee, do you have any information about this latest secret service agent because, as you heard senator lieberman say, it turns out he apparently was in the other hotel, the hotel where the president later was. >> i will say, bob, that
homeland security committee that i am on is beginning its investigation with investigators in the field. and i believe mr. king and mr. thompson and myself pushing-- i sent a letter the first day i arrived back. what i would say is we know in my briefing from director sullivan just two days ago, that he now equals the 12th problem. among the 20 women, this individual is a problem. so they are investigating him. it is now 12. that means five have not been addressed because they have due process rights, but what i would simply say is for the principle leadership we expect they must be address and i had believe they all should go. >> schieffer: we'll be back in a moment. which take some form of energy, harness it,
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>> schieffer: we're back now. from time to time, from now until november, we will be doing a campaign check with key supporters of the candidates. with us in the studio this morning, stephanie cutter, the deputy campaign manager for president obama. and in boston, eric fehrnstrom, senior adviser to mitt romney. mr. fehrnstrom, we thank you for joining us this morning. you're coming off a pretty good week on the campaign. most of the polling now shows that this race may be within the margin of error. the good news for you is that in the "wall street journal" poll, it says when it am cans to the economy, most people like governor romney's ideas. i'm sure you must be pleased to hear that. >> year, bob, well, thank you for having me on the show. here's a number you're going to
hear a lot over the course of this campaign-- 23 million. that's the number of people who are looking for work, who have become so discouraged they've stopped looking for work, or who are stuck in part-time jobs when what they really want is full-time employment. we all know that president obama didn't create this recession, but his policies are not working for that 23 million people i just told you about. last week, he was in ohio, and he said that this election is going to come down to two competing visions. well, that's not true. incumbent presidents don't get to run on vision. they have records that they have to run on, and we're going to hold him accountable to that. >> schieffer: that was the good news. the economic numbers that you talked about, about people favoring the president. there were also some numbers in the "wall street journal" poll they would guess might give you some concern. one of them asked who was the most easy-going and likable?
presume was favored by 54% of the people. when asked about caring about average people, again, 52% said president obama cared more. only 22% said governor romney. and in looking out for the middle class, again, mr. obama 48% of the people said they liked president obama, believed that about him. only 27% said that about governor romney. so do you believe those numbers, mr. fehrnstrom? and what do you do? that seems like a challenge to me. >> well, i'll tell you, bob, i've been associated with mitt romney for the past 10 years, observed him in public and i've observed him when the cameras are off. i've witnessed his acts of charity. i've seen how hee relates to his family, and i've seen how he interacts with complete strangers, and i can tell you this is a man of integrity and character. and i think over the course of this next seven months of the campaign, americans are going to
see that, too. and i'm confident at the end of this process they're going to choose mitt romney as their next president. >> schieffer: but he's been out there for a while now, and shower, he cannot seem to get that part across. why do you think that is? >> would, again, i have to disagree. we're just starting off now on the general election campaign. it's going to be a long road. seven month. people are going to be learning a lot about mitt romney, a lot about his family, about his wife, anne. and, again, at the end of the process, i think they're going to see in mitt romney a person of integrity, a person of character, and someone who can lead this country through some very challenging tiles with our economy and we have no doubt, that at the end of the day, he will be the choice of americans for their next president. >> schieffer: what do you think is the best thing your campaign has going for it right now? >> i think the best thing we have going for us is a candidate
with a strong pro jobs message. people are looking for someone with capability to lead during some very challenging times. and you look at mitt romney. he spent the last, well, the bulk of his career in the private sector. he had a very successful record running the olympics. and he was governor of a state for four years. and when he became governor of massachusetts, he came into office during a recession. the state was losing thousands of jobs every month. the budget was unbalanced, and four years later, when he lowest, the economy had been completely turned around. we were creating thousands of jobs every month. and the budget had been balanced all four years without a tax increase. i think that's the record of accomplishment that people want to see in their next president. >> schieffer: eric fehrnstrom, thank you very much for joining us. we hope we can check in with you from time to time, as we get closer to november. and, of course, we would love to have governor romney on "face the nation." >> well, thank you, bob, for
having me. >> schieffer: and what about governor romney we're-- we're in constant discussions with your staff, and i'm sure we'll find an opportunity in the near future to bring him on the show. >> schieffer: all right, thank you very much. mr. fehrnstrom. thank you. and now to the obama campaign side of the story, and stephanie cutter, want presidentee deputy campaign manager. miss cutter, of course, we also would like to see president obama whenever he can find the time. >> duely noted. >> schieffer: you heard eric fehrnstrom. he said mitt romney has seven months to connect and fix this image problem. what do you think? >> well, i think he's been running for president for the past six years and this image problem hasn't changed so i'm not sure what the next seven months are going to do, particularly when you're spending your campaign really running a wholly negative campaign. i l . to mr. fehrnstrom talk about how this election is about capability and vision. let's take a look at what just happened this week. in a nationally televised interview, when asked what
message mitt romney had for barack obama, he said, "pack your bags." i think the american people want to make their own decision about this election. they don't need mitt romney to tell them. and then mitt romney went on to follow the president to ohio. the president there was talking about what we'd done to train workers new and better jobs at higher wages and the need to invest in worker training so we can be competitive with countries like india and china. now mitt romney went to a plant that closed under gorge bush, and he tried to blame barack obama. that is the kind of campaign he's running. instead of laying out a vision of where he wants to take the country, he had a speech full of distortions and dishonesty. you don't just have to take it from me. you can take it from members will of the governor romney's own party, mitch daniels who sahd he was disappointed for not laying out the vision and running a wholly negative campaign. >> schieffer: do you expect to
hear governor romney talk about his years as governor? he didn't talk about it during the early primaries. but as eric fehrnstrom said this morning, he had a very good record there. >> well, i think that the facts show something very different. and i think-- you, know, cbs had a poll out this week that really showed people didn't know much about mitt romney and mr. fehrnstrom said it himself. here's what they don't know. mitt romney as governor, despite coming in based on his private sector business experience and making enormous promise of what he was going to do for the economy, similar promises that he's making right now, led the state to 47th up on the of 50th in job creation. now the states behind massachusetts were largely states that were hit by katrina. he said he was going to reduce the size of government. he increased the size of government by more than 6% a year. manufacturing jobs left that state at twice the national average. so that's the record of mitt romney. and despite a balanced budget in massachusetts, he left the country-- the state in debt. the largest per-capita debt of
any state in the country. >> schieffer: let me ask you this-- clearly these polls so that people do like his approach, though ohow to fix the economy. gas prices are very high. there's still a lot of people out of work. do you expect that to change before election day? >> about mitt romney's experience on the economy? yes, because i don't think they have any understanding of what the experience is. you know, if you look at what the president -- >> >> schieffer: i'm talking about the record the president is having to run on. >> let's talk about that record. since end of the recovery-- the end of the recession, we created 4.1 million jobs. manufacture signature highest it's been in two decades. we're on track to double our exports. you know, we're sending more kids to college, reducing their debt coming out. that's the record of this president. we're making investments to grow this economy for the long term, make sure everybody pays their fair share and hard work pays and responsibility is reward. that's the record of this administration. if you compare that to mitt romney's record, now, it's not just what he's saying on the
campaign trail. it's what his actual record is. it stands in stark contrast. you know, mitt romney praised george bush for his economic policies in 2004, as the country was coming out of the bush recession. and just this week, we heard a republican spokesperson say mitt romney and the republican policies are just bush updated policies. we know how that story ends. and i don't think the american people want to go back there. >> schieffer: stephanie cutter, thank you very much. next time, of course, we'll let your campaign go first, and we'll give the romney campaign the last word. but we'll be doing this from time to time. thank you so much and we'll be back with one minute with more politics from our news roundtable. y beyond banking. we not only lend people money, we help them save it.
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and our favorite cbs news political team norah o'donnell and john dickerson. major, i have got to start with you because there was is this-- i don't want to call it an incident-- ( laughter ) but this episode today where you were interviewing marco rubio, i guess at a "national journal" panel and are you sit, right next to marco rubio, and the whole question of vise perez densey and who is going to be on the ticket came up, and here's what happens. >> three, four, five, sir, seven years from now, if i do a good job as vice president-- i'm sorry. ( laughter ) >> you guys all got that, right? you all got that, right? >> if i do a good job as a senator instead a vice president, i'll have a chance to do-- i'll have a chance to do all sorts of things. >> schieffer: so there you go. so, obviously, it was a slip of the tongue, but what was that all about? do you think he wants to be on the ticket? >> he says he doesn't. i did an interview with senator
rubio about three months ago and said, look, let's understand as a predicate for this kind of question, the answer from a person like you is always no until it's yes, right? if a nominee asks you, what are you going to do? you're probably going to say yes. but in this interview before that slip-up, i said, the whole conference was about "national journal" looking into the new american demographics, the latino movement across the united states. he gave a long, eloquent answer about how republicans need to adapt to this changing environment. i said, what if governor romney said, i saw that enter it's no impress 55. not only do i need you, the party needs you, will you run. what is your answer going to be? no, i will not run. that's ison-the-record response right now then you had the freudian slip but there's still some thought in his mind about possibly running. >> schieffer: noraif i heard right i think jeb bush said today, if romney asked pim he
probably would but he said he didn't think he would ask him and he thought marco rubio would be a better running mate. do you place any credence in that? >> reporter: i think the romney team will: 00 and see where they are in a couple of months about who they choose as vice president. romney, no doubt harks huge problem among hispanic voters. i was just look at the numbers in the "wall street journal" poll that i think had obama up 47 points among hispanics, and hispanics are the fastest and largest minority group in this country. they make up,in, 13% of the population. romney will not be able to win the presidency unless he did better among hispanics. they're important in the key swing states-- nevada, new mexico. president obama began running spanish language tv ads in colschol and nevada. so he may have to choose someone like rubio if he doesn't improve
in terms of his stand. >> schieffer: or jeb bush who is married to a hispanic and was all the governor of florida. this thing is getting so close, it may well be who he picks as vice president would make a difference. what do you make of these polls showing the race close? >> that's right. there are so many this week. basically, at the top it's tied. president obama has a little advantage over romney in the head-to-head poll. this is not a "titanic" struggle of two "titanic" candidates. these are two weak candidates. 60% of the country thinks we're going in the wrong direction. that's bad for the president. the president's approval ratings, disapprove over approve over 10 points. mitt romney in the polls is in the worst position of a party nominee. you sees in these two weaknesses why the president wants it to be a race about mitt romney, and why mitt romney wants it to be a
thumbs-up, or thumbs-down on the president. >> schieffer: linda, i want to talk to you because you wrote a column in the "post" this week, and your column is called "she the people." today's column, you point out women don't vote based on who the candidate is married to. >> right. >> schieffer: while romney does seem to be closing the gap with women in general, certainly not with single women. how important is the women's vote, and can romney get it? >> that's why i think they kept-- keep saying anne romney, anne romney, anne romney. because what else are they going to say? i honestly think there are huge questions about whether there's any way romney can close the gap with women voters and when you have a-- when you're down 20 points with the namajority of electorate, that's a big will be prospect i do think in addition to the hispanic vote that norah mentioned with these women voters, a big deal-- and i don't even think you can overestimate it-- is likeability. even though when women say they
vote on the economy, they vote on jobs, they vote on gas prices, deficit-- likeability plays into those factors, too, because so much of it goes back to who do i trust? and i really think that at this point, on likeability and with the women voters i really think even in the tight race we're seeing, at this point, so much is out of the incumbent's control. i would certainly give the edge to obama at this point. >> schieffer: i agree with you that people in a presidential race, unlike any other contest, they vote with-- for the person they feel most comfortable with in time of crisis. thanks to all of you. i wish we could talk longer. in a moment, we're going to have a special discussion on one of the biggest problems in america today. you don't hear much about it in the campaign, poverty.
million children now live in poverty. early last year, in a "60 minutes" story that literally took our break the away, scott pelley told us about how some of those children are living. >> pelley: if you were rushing to work this morning seminole county florida, it's not likely you would notice the truck or hear the children getting ready for school. >> in the clear pin, we have dirty laundry. in that one is tools. >> pelley: all these bank backs are storage of this or that. >> like shampoo. >> and over here is food. >> food. >> pelley: so you're really not heating up food so much. you're eating out of cans? >> yup. >> schieffer: well, after that story aired, the story of five children, a family of five, living in a truck, the kids in that story were given free housing. their parents were offered jobs. two kids have been offered full scholarships from three colleges but that is only one happy
ending in a much larger story and the problems are even worse now, according to our guest this morning cornell west of princeton, and tavis smiley, the pbs television talk show host. they have written a book called "the rich and the the rest of us" about poverty in america. how bad is it, tavis? >> it's horrible when one out of two americans, bob, are living in or near poverty. that means 150 million americans, half of us, are wrestling with this issue. what we argue in this text "the rich and the rest of us" poverty now, bob, threatens our very democracy. poverty now say matter of national security. there seems to be a bipartisan conscious in this townue know how hard that is to do-- but a bipartisan consensus that the poor don't matter. >> schieffer: cornell, you were a big supporter of barack obama in the last election. you really got off of him though, and it's over this. why so? >> well, my critique has to do
with a system that has warped priorities. the question is what kind of nation we really with, what kind of people we really are. 1% of our population own 42% of the wealth. we would both say here quite explicitly, that barack obama is better than mitt romney when it doms poor people, but when you look at the system as a whole, there's an intimate connection between the deadening zones of poverty and the deadly drones that kill terrorists will but also innocent people. why? we put a higher priority on military, less priority on our precious and pryless poor people of all color, especially our children belief you point out in this week the face of poverty is changing. it's not just overwhelmingly black information. >> absolutely. we have a significant number of white brothers and sisters. and we began on the indian reservation. and those people from precious, too. but the public face now-- white, more and more white middle class. >> that's been a problem for a language time, bob, and we think poverty is color coded.
we think poverty and we think black and brown. if half of the nation is wrestling with poverty this is not a black problem or brown problem. it's not that people have character runs in this is a societal crisis right now. >> couric: you're saying half the people in america are living in poverty. >> the senseus tells us ifut take the penialy poor or consistent poor, the new poor, which we call the former middle class in this book, and the near park those who are just a paycheck or two away from being in poverty, you're talking 150 million people. >> you're talking poor and low income. you reported with the dense of census bureau with byron pits, one half, low income or poor. >> schieffer: what do you do about it in this age of shrinking budgets? there's no question of the enormous deficit problem. >> we have a political system broken, both parties tied to big money. the problem is we make our choices relative to those two parents, or we offer third party
possibilities. but most importantly, we need a massive jobs program. we need investment in education, quality jobs and housing, do away with discourse about austerity, focus on massive investment, research and development, infrastructure, and job creation. >> schieffer: 30 seconds. >> progressive tax code, number one. number two, women and children first. there's a reason, 15 years after the clinton administration, women and children are falling fastest into poverty. we have to do something about the imbalance between public and private, housing, schools, and prisons now under private control basically. we're a better nation. we can do better, starting with a white house conference on the eradication of poverty in this country. >> schieffer: i have to end it there. i thank both of you. basement in our "face the nation" flashback. laces? really? slip-on's the way to go. more people do that, security would be like -- there's no charge for the bag. thanks. i know a quiet little place where we can get some work done. there's a three-prong plug. i have club passes. [ male announcer ] get the mileage card with special perks on united,
like a free checked bag, united club passes, and priority boarding. thanks. ♪ okay. what's your secret? [ male announcer ] the united mileageplus explorer card. get it and you're in. and now i build them. i am a bigger is better kind of guy. i absolutely love building locomotives. i knew i wanted to design locomotives from when i was very young. [ jahmil ] from the outside it looks like such a simple device. when you actually get down into the bare bones of it, there's so much technology that's submerged. [ rob ] my welds are a signature, i could tell my welds apart from anybody's. you lay down that nice bead and you look at it, i love it. they don't go together by themselves. there are a lot of little parts, and everyone has their job. [ scott ] i'd love to see it out there on the open tracks. and when i see it, i'm gonna know that i helped build that thing.
>> schieffer: finally today, washington is the place where people and things and ideas come and go. but we had a special visitor last week. the shuttle "discovery" came to town and came in spectacular fashion riding atop a huge 747 aircraft. "discovery's" being retired to the smithsonian museum, and in effect, that means the end of the america's manned space program, a program well under
way in 1981 when the first shuttle was blasted into the face space, and that is our "face the nation" flashback. millions around the country had turned out to cheer the 50're first astronauts who came back from the moon in 1969. >> you and buz got out and walked around're around. >> schieffer: on "face the nation," neil armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, told walter cronkite it was possible there would be a man on mars by 1981. >> i certainly think it's well within our capability to be prepared for that. >> this has got to be one of the most proud moments of my life. >> schieffer: but it was not to be. there would be more trips to the moon. the hubble telescope was put into orbit, and satellites provide weather, communication, and directional services that we take for granted now. an american robot even patrols
the plains of mars but priorities changed, budgets shrank and when last shuttle returned to earth last year, the early astronauts' dreams of going to another planet died. this week's "face the nation" flashback. and we'll be right here next week on "face the nation." hope you can join us. and thanks for watching. captioning sponsored by cbs captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org